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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Planning for Four Legged Family Members--and Other Stuff Before a Disney Vacation

Okay, so we are a family of 3 humans, but we have other family members which include, right now, a cat and a dog (at one time it also included a turtle, but his has since passed on).  Getting the 3 humans ready for a vacation takes a bit of planning and budgeting, but then there is also the planning and budgeting to take care of the family members left behind.  Then there’s consideration about yards needing to be mowed in the summer, or driveways cleared if we are traveling in the winter, etc.

So, a bunch of planning goes into how everything gets handled.  Sometimes that can be overwhelming and it is a miracle that we are able to take a vacation at all.

Let’s first start with the four legged family members, our lovely pets.  When we just had the dog, we would board her with a local vet.  We would send along a t-shirt that had been worn by the husband so that she had something “smelly” from home and she would get a bath before she came home.  It go so that the husband would have me drop her off, as he couldn’t take pushing her little behind in the door of the vet’s, even though once she was there, she was fine.  This also worked well, as “grandma” was across the street from the vet’s in her independent living facility, so we would leave our dog’s leash with the vet and “grandma” would go over and walk her during the day—if the weather was favorable.  Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?

Well, mostly it was, except that the pick up and drop off times had to coincide with the vet’s hours.  That became especially tricky around the holidays.  If we weren’t traveling until say, December 26, we may have had to drop the dog off at the vet on December 23 or 24. . . extra days our dog wasn’t home with us and extra days to pay to have her boarded.  Or, if we came home from a trip on a Sunday, we would have to wait until Monday to pick up our dog, and that was usually after work.

When we added our cat to the family, boarding both animals just didn’t seem like the thing to do anymore.  Enter our pet sitter!  We discovered her through a friend who also frequents Disney and has more than one pet.  This lovely lady comes to our home 4 times a day to take care of our pets, play with them, etc.  She will put out mail if we leave her a note or put the garbage can on the curb if we let her know what day.  She will bring in the mail and the newspaper daily.  And, her daily fee is less than the daily fee for boarding both pets.  Bonus—her hours are flexible, so if we come home on a Sunday from a trip, our pets are home waiting for us.  We still pay for the entire day, but it is worth it!

Our pet sitter has important information, like the vet we use, etc.  She also has our cell phone numbers so she can reach us and the numbers of neighbors just in case she has a question or needs help. 

Not only are our pets well taken care of, but there is also peace of mind knowing that someone is coming into your house 4 times a day while you are on vacation!

Now for the other things like yards and driveways. . . Lucky for us, we have a neighbor who is willing to plow our driveway if it snows while we are traveling.  His family also loves Disney and we paid him back with a PassPorter Guide Book! 

Since we have quite a long trip planned for this summer, we had to take a serious look at someone to take care of the yard while we were traveling.  I phoned a lawn service and asked for an estimate.  It was very reasonable and we locked in the offer!  Check that off the list!

Now there are just a few more things to take care of. . . an order from Gardengrocer.com, printing out and signing the on-line registration information for Disney Cruise Line, checking in on-line to our resort 10 days prior to our trip, pre-purchasing our PhotoPass CD at the discounted rate, calling 24 hours in advance of our flight for an upgrade to business class (no baggage fees!), and e-mailing our itinerary to family and friends. 

I had better get busy!

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